Around these parts, it’s hard not to think seasonally when eating. Summer produces berries and corn, fall with apples and lettuces, winter has pears and squash; but in spring, before the fields have bloomed with what’s to come, fresh Washington asparagus reigns supreme.
Eating at Mbar, the young Mamnoon sibling restaurant atop the 400 Fairview building in South Lake Union, is an all-encompassing experience. From the moment you enter the waiting room/bar off the ground floor lobby to check in for dinner, through the end of your meal, you will feel utterly transported.
If you’re visiting Mbar without a reservation and a table isn’t immediately available, you’ll be offered a seat at the anteroom bar, a dimly lit space with a speakeasy vibe.
The menu at Bookstore Bar in Downtown Seattle reads, well, a bit underwhelming: burger, turkey BLT, Northwest chowder, clam dip. It sounds fine, but certainly nothing to write an article about. It would make sense, considering that before this recent visit, I had only eaten there twice in its entire existence. Both times were “meh” at best, so for this stopover, I wasn’t expecting the rockets and streamers that I was met with when I settled in for a long food coma.
Located just off I-5 in northeast Portland, Mississippi Avenue is a little out-of-the-way but definitely not under-the-radar. Record shops, comic book stores and independent art galleries and boutiques vie for the customers living in any of the tall new high-rises that line the street. In the middle of it all sits Quaintrelle, a long, narrow space which offers fresh, local and seasonal fare made by chef Bill Wallender, formerly of Ava Gene’s and Little Bird Bistro.
Growing up as a youngster in Long Island, family gatherings happened often and typically included chaffing dishes full of Italian specialties. Given the chance, I would sneak bites from the penne alla vodka tray, seduced by the potential that something interesting could happen. I had no idea as a child what sort of fun I was after, only that the dish of creamy, tomato, booze-spiked pasta seemed like forbidden fruit — an adult-only fare that I couldn’t resist.
McMenamins: a local chain of adult wonderlands, each replete with numerous bars, eateries, spa quarters, music venues, movie theaters and a variety of lodging styles, all in a family-fun environment that welcomes the presences of open containers of its major amenity: drink.
Not every McMenamins hotel has a booze production facility onsite, but all have pubs that pour the proprietary beverages: from wine and beer to cider and spirits.
There’s no better way to start off the night than sipping on your drink of choice and nibbling on some pre-dinner bites. Our American ode to the Italian apéritif, restaurants and bars have stepped up and hopped on the happy hour bandwagon with deals on booze and bites, something that has become tradition for many couples and friends alike.
Aptly designed menu highlights the inherent qualities of natural wines at Dame.
East Portland has become a hub to the city’s most critically acclaimed restaurants and bars that have earned Portland a number one spot on The Washington Post’s Best Food Cities in America and a number five spot on Thrillist’s Best U.S. Cities for Food. New to the eastside scene is Dame, a natural-wine-focused restaurant that puts a modern spin on classic Eastern European dishes.